Dirk Nowitzki had the Dallas Mavericks up 2-0 over the Miami heat in 2005. They went on to lose four straight games and the NBA finals. The knock on Dirk was that he was soft. Over the next few years, the Mavericks never got to the finals again and people were looking at Dirk and wondering if he was an elite player, someone who could carry his team to an NBA championship.
Dirk resigned with the Mavericks this year though he could have taken his talents elsewhere. His challenge to owner Mark Cuban was to get him some players to win a championship and he would re-sign. Cuban and the organization did. And the “soft” Dirk led this Maverick team to victory against the win-it-all-or-bust, super-star-ladened Miami Heat.
Dirk had something to prove.
Christians have something to prove as well. The proof is not in the “pudding” or the end result. The proof is in the proving. The process provides the outcome. The outcome is secondary to the process.
James 1:3 is the rationale behind the challenge to “consider it pure joy” in the previous verse. Knowing is causal. The readers of James can be joyful “because you know” and the content of what they know is the purpose of their trials. That content is different for each person. It is the wisdom built from the enduring the trials. The endurance is faith stretched out, an active, heroic endurance that fights to survive the tests that are put in front of the person.
What a person learns is reflected the life lived after enduring the testing.
Tests are a proving ground, providing experiential, Godly wisdom born from being stretched to the limits of our faith and not letting go. That wisdom is something that could not have been exposed without the testing. It is a character that comes only from testing.
Testing has something to prove. It proves that we have that long obedience in the same direction, even when we cannot see all that is going on. It is obedience to God when nothing make sense. That is the proving process.
We do not have something to prove. God wants to draw out of the character of obedience, maturity, and wholeness. He does the “proving” in us through testing.
Learn from the testing. Watch your character and maturity grow through the proving. Ultimately, you will find yourself on the platform hoisting the trophy of life surrounded by those who helped you along the way. The God who proved you will proclaim to the universe…”Well Done!”